4 New (to me) Favorite Shows + 1

TVblueIt’s hard enough to keep up with the shows I’ve been watching for years (because I haven’t paid for television in nearly 5 years and generally have to wait to stream), let alone stay current with the torrent of new shows available on the numerous outlets nowadays, but since I want to be a part of it all, I had to make a concerted effort to watch some new things.

I decided to go through my various lists and watch the first episode of a number of shows, and see what struck me.  Here are the “new to me” stand outs:

lastkingdom4.  The Last Kingdom – A wonderful show I discovered via Netflix is the BBC import The Last Kingdom.  Set before England is a united nation, the story follows the life of a young Saxon prince who is captured by an invading Dane army and becomes their earl’s slave.  As the years pass, he becomes more Dane than Saxon and eventually becomes the earl’s adopted son.  His journey is a strange one as he discovers that despite his true heritage, he is a man that doesn’t really belong in either world, and yet finds himself at the center of the great changes that are to come.

It’s a period piece set in England.  For me, that’s all it really takes,😉  but there is something unique and captivating about this show, and I definitely recommend watching the first episode like I did – I’m sure you’ll be hooked too.

galavant3.  Galavant – A comedy musical set in Medieval times starring Timothy Omundson?!  I was in from the moment I saw the first preview, but because of the not-having-tv-thing, it was just another show that got pushed to the wayside…until Netflix.  The first two seasons popped up and I was hooked from first song – Thank you, Alan Menken! (of Disney movie fame: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Tangled to name a few).

The series follows Galavant, a knight on a mission to reclaim his lost love, but as you can expect in a comedy, things don’t always go as planned.  The show is more adult oriented despite the light hearted presentation, special guests make regular appearances, and without commercials, the 18 episodes are only about 20 mins long, so it’s an easy binge watch.  And then I discovered the horrible truth – Galavant had been canceled.  I think the show is really wonderful, and cleverly done.  I’m sad to learn that there won’t be any more of it.  If you’re looking for something different and just plain fun, I highly recommend Galavant.

vikings2.  Vikings – This was a show I longed to watch, but again, did not have access to, and then I got access to Hulu and voila!  Even if I hadn’t been entranced by the first episode, which I totally was, this show was one I was willing to put a little effort into.  Thankfully, it didn’t come to that.  It’s fantastic!  Vikings are often portrayed as this brute invading force, but this show takes us inside their world and, in particular, the life of Ragnar Lothbrok.

Tired of the routine set by his earl of sailing east to lands they have repeatedly pillaged, Ragnar makes a daring-rogue decision and builds a boat of his own to travel to new destinations.  Ragnar, besides being easy on the eyes, is a compelling character to watch.  He’s a clever man played by a subtle actor who says a great deal with his eyes.  (I’m a sucker for that, hello, Mads Mikkelsen.)  And then there’s his wife, Lagertha, a famous warrior known as a shield maiden.  She is an amazing character and my eyes are drawn to her whenever she’s on screen.  She’s a force to be reckoned with, and it’s satisfying to find a character like her.

I’m only on season 2, and there’s already been betrayal and sacrifice (literally) and loss.  I can’t wait to see what else is in store for these characters.

strangerthings1.  Stranger Things – Everyone was talking about Stranger Things so I decided to watch the first episode to see what all the hype was about.  If you’ve been on the fence, get off of it already and watch this hit from Netflix Originals.

Set in the 80s in a small town, this sci-fi series follows a group of friends, four 12 year old boys who are sort of the geeky outcasts.  (In hindsight, they’re the boys I wish I would’ve befriended when I was 12 to learn how to play D&D.)  When one of their friends mysteriously disappears, a new friend mysteriously appears, and a “strange” series of events follow as this tale unfolds.

There was a lot of information about this show on every social media outlet (there still is as season 2 is close at hand), and it was hard to stay ignorant to the premise, so if you’re like I was, I won’t give too much away because it is really well done and a lot of fun to watch.  I have to say I was surprised how much I enjoyed this, because I didn’t know what to expect, so maybe that’s a good thing…I’ve been disappointed more often than not recently when I’m looking forward to something…and despite the fact that Winona Ryder is one of the leads, she is still not a good actor, the show is worthy of your time.

And the +1 is currently in the  “undecided” section:

blackbutlerBlack Butler – The Sis has already watched all the available episodes and is a fan, but I’ve only watched a few, and am still on the fence.  I really like the premise which is about a young boy, the heir to a vast fortune in Victorian England, who makes a deal with a demon to avenge his family.  The demon then becomes his constant companion in the way of his butler, and he is “one hell of a butler”.😉

Japanime seems to be a cross between a couple of animation types, a beautiful, stylistic art, and this odd, campy, almost childish variant.  Black Butler has both, which sometimes pulls me out of the story because the two styles are drastically different, but this is a mainstay in their animation, I’ve discovered, so it’s just something you have to get used to.

Black Butler is available on both Netflix and Hulu and the Hulu version has both the dubbed and subtitled versions, I believe.  I would recommend the subtitled versions, because Sebastian, the butler, has a wonderful, soothing voice.

Have you watched any of these shows?  What do you think?  Wanna talk about any of them?  Let’s chat!

Writing Prompt Challenge Accepted #20

I try to take advantage of the down time I get at work, which, if you’ve read my fan fiction, you’ll know is a great deal.  Even on a Friday night, I found myself with enough time to write three flash fiction pieces.

*Don’t forget, if you’re ever inspired by the Writing Prompts, let me know so I can share your creations here as well.

The first prompt was meant to deter me from writing more romantic fanfic, it really is a problem, one I find myself happy to indulge, but instead it gave me an idea for a scene.  Fairly soon, some version of it will find its way there.😉

NoTime4Romance

Fort Drakon

I wasn’t certain what had startled me awake – the unsettling sounds coming from the dark, the throbbing of my head, or the deep chill upon my skin.  I awoke to find myself in Alistair’s protective embrace, on the cold stone floor of a prison cell, in nothing but my small clothes.  Looking up to his face, past the bare expanse of his chest, I said teasingly, “It’s a shame we are unable to take advantage of this privacy, given our situation is so dire.”

He laughed in spite of himself, and responded with a wink, “Yes, unfortunately, this is no time for romance.”

Crowd

The Display

The advert had promised “sights not to be missed,” and the showing had not disappointed, but there was another advert, one meant to be understood only by the one it was intended for.  She had read it and arrived early to ensure she would not be taken by surprise.  There was nothing about her that would give her away as anything but a proper Victorian lady, but for the one who waited for her across the gallery, she was as deadly as she was well dressed.

 

Space:PortalOversight Committee

After watching the birth of yet another system, they were surprised to find that it still gave them chills.  There was nothing quite like the explosion of color and the dazzling display of light.  Knowing that life would soon be springing forth made them each excited for different reasons.  The demon’s smile was smug with all the temptations waiting to be explored.  The angel nudged the other knowing that after countless millennia, nothing had changed.

Happy Writing!

Opportunities for Writers

MegaphoneWhen I find a writing opportunity, I like to share.

If you’re not following Aerogramme Writers’ Studio yet, you definitely should!  Like right now.  Go.  I’ll wait.  ;)

Okay, now that you’re back, let’s get to business.

Aerogramme sends regular monthly emails with opportunities, and then a number of other emails throughout the month when they discover something new.  Now you don’t have to waste your time not writing because you’re looking for avenues to showcase your work, they’ll come to you.

Here are two, for example:

  1. Kathy Fish Fellowship for Flash Fiction Writers via SmokeLong Quarterly. Applications will be accepted until September 15th which is only a week away, but there’s no entry fee (although a $5 donation is suggested) and they accept unsolicited material all year round.
  2. Buzzfeed’s 2nd Annual Emerging Writers Fellowship is open until October 1st.  The winners will spend four months being mentored in either NY or LA and win $12,000 to financially support themselves while they learn.  There is a great deal of work required to enter this one (a resume, a personal statement, 5 writing examples, and 3 letters of reference), so if you’re interested, get crackin’!

Wishing you the very best in all your endeavors!  Good Luck!

A Discrepant Writer Reviews: Suicide Squad

I’m breaking from routine this week.  It’s time to mix up the schedule, so for today, I thought I would do a review…I’m really, really behind in those.  I mean, I never even talked about Star Wars.  Who am I?

As always, I will do my best to keep my review “spoiler free”.

SuicideSquad.png

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that DC is trying to play catch up with Marvel.  Marvel has been interweaving their stories since day one and while not all the movies they put out are stellar, they’ve put out a few great ones and their story telling only continues to get better.  From what I’ve seen so far of the DC cinematic world, the same cannot be said.

Suicide Squad, on initial inspection, sounded like an interesting premise: gather together some of the comic world’s worst and let them do something good knowing that if it all goes wrong they’re the perfect scapegoats.

First of all, there are so. many. characters, and for some reason, we needed the backstory of each one.  Actually, no, we didn’t.  As a writer, I’ve learned that when introducing a group, you should find an interesting way to do it, so it sets them all up with their individual character traits and personalities, and doesn’t waste too much time.  This did not happen in Suicide Squad.

I wish I would have timed it, but I felt the set up for all these characters was somewhere in the 45 mins range.  Way too long.  And a lot of their backgrounds could have easily been summed up in a line of dialogue.  With stories of this genre, and with a lot of side characters, I don’t feel that full histories are necessary because we don’t need to emotionally connect with each person on screen.  Besides, the movie is only two hours long.

Then there was the plot, or lack there of.  What a convoluted mess.  Honestly, I felt that the director was having so much fun showing off his cast and special effects that he forgot they were supposed to be doing something – the mission – which, again, was all over the place.  With a comic book history that spans 75 years, there are a number of topics to choose from, and yet this is where they really fell flat.

harleyThe one redeeming thing in the whole movie: Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.  Besides being absolutely gorgeous, her sweet-crazy performance was the highlight of the film, in addition to the very few interactions we got with Jared Leto’s Joker.  Long time comic book fans are well aware of the twisted relationship they share, and considering the information of how much footage was shot of the two, I think most movie goers were surprised/disappointed with the less than 10 mins that actually appeared in the film.

This is probably because they were trying to make leads of all their characters, and now this is why so many fans are calling for a Harley/Joker film with these two actors reprising the roles.  They were fun to watch.

2stars

Sadly, this film was an overall disappointment.  It had its moments of comedy, but they were few and far between.  Comic books are fun, and yes, they often deal with real world problems, but the characters that are coming to save the day wear tights and capes.  Regardless of wanting these stories to feel “real” with a darker side, they should maintain their levity and fun.

Well, that’s my take any way.  If you saw the film, what did you think?

Gishwhes 2016

Gishwhes2016Banner

As if I wasn’t aware already of how fast time goes by, it’s been a month since I participated in the craziness that is “gishwhes“.  This was the fourth year The Sis and I challenged ourselves in the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, and as always, it was the creative boost I needed.

For those of you unfamiliar with the hunt, it was started by actor/philanthropist Misha Collins.  He plays the angel, Castiel on Supernatural.  The week long adventure includes making things, doing things, finding things, and taking pictures or video to document your achievement.

Falkor2014The Sis and I are part of Team Falkor, and always will be!  This year our team was comprised solely of amazing women who are among some of the best people I have never met.  As the scavenger hunt is international and online, I have yet to meet some of my teammates, although the friendships formed despite this last a lifetime.  The group is encouraging, supportive, and just plain awesome all year round (a few of them were my beta readers for my pilot).

It would be amazing to win just so we could all get together, and yes, a desperately needed vacation to a foreign land would fantastic as well.😉

It is surprising what you can accomplish in a week, and what people are willing to help you do.  There were about 175 items on this year’s list, and while some are easier than others – repurpose artichokes, there are some that seem almost impossible – one included NASA.  The Sis and I are usually on our own, moving has not been overly helpful to creating a core group of fellow geeks who can help, but together we were able to accomplish 14 items and had 2 more we were so, so close to finishing.

The hunt always includes good deeds among the crazy antics, and for the geek in us, there are always a couple Star Wars themed items, one usually includes a stormtrooper.  Most of our team members areFreckles devoted Whovians, so we always include at least one Doctor Who reference.  This year was a freckle constellation.  The Sis and I like taking our time on items, so we generally choose those that take planning and effort and then go out and snapshot like 8 in one day.  We have one team member, fondly nicknamed “The Hammer”, for her sheer mind-blowing ability to hammer out multiple items every day.  I think her name was on 35 items this year.

She’s awesome.

PopcornCoffinGishwhes is one of those rare things that brings people together to have fun and do good deeds.  It’s an event that you look forward to all year and plan for by saving random things you think could be useful for an item.  It helps to break you out of your shell by having you approach strangers for hugs while covered in chocolate, or helps you overcome a fear, like jumping out of an airplane, or giving blood, or even being buried in popcorn.  With roughly 175 items each year, you can imagine the possibilities.

It’s also one of those things that makes you a little more brave and leaves you with good feelings that you want to maintain the rest of the year.  You may be willing to try new things and continue those good deeds because being a part of gishwhes makes you a part of something bigger.  You’ve become part of a group of similarly minded people who will support you and encourage you and in turn, you will want to do the same.

I know, all that from a scavenger hunt…you’d be surprised.  Click the link above to learn more, and hopefully you’ll be a part of the fun next year!

Writing Prompt #91

Seriously…where does the time go?  I’ve been working on a rewrite, and the time is just flying by.  And what’s bad about that, you may wonder?  I don’t feel as if I’ve made any huge strides towards its completion, and yes, you’ve guessed it, there’s an approaching deadline.

Sheesh.

I’m all over the place, or at least it feels that way.  I can’t let another week go by without tending to my blog and giving you a little inspiration to get you through the weekend.😉

Hesitation

I like dialogue prompts because they’re open to interpretation.  What does the above say to you?  Are you inspired?

Happy Writing!

An Anniversary, A Thank You, A Quote, and A Farewell

RainbowCakeHappy Monday, my friends!

Last week flew by in a blur.  Trying to fan the flames of that new creative spark I’m cultivating, I made a rainbow cake (avert your eyes from the Grand Canyon sized crack that happened during delivery) for a friend.

I then did a bunch more baking, worked on a screenplay, watched Stranger Things*, and finally ended the week going to see Suicide Squad* – mostly all positive things.  *To be discussed later.

Happy-AnniversaryAmidst all this was the third anniversary of my blog.

I can’t believe I’ve been at this for three years already…I may slack off from time to time, but this has been the most devoted to a “diary” I’ve ever been, and that has a whole lot to do with all of you.

So Thank You !

You all hold me accountable, and make me want to show up.  Like when I’m away from my own writing for too long, I feel guilty.  I’ll keep trying to do better!

Now, as it’s Monday, we need to start this week off right.  In light of the so many negative things out in the world right now, as writers and creatives we’re lucky that we have our minds to escape into.

ImaginationVsReality

Find your happy place and do great things!

WillyWonka

And finally, a farewell.

As I was looking for the image of the cake, I learned of the passing of Gene Wilder, an icon who had a huge impact on my youth.  I don’t often comment on the passing of celebrities, that’s not what this space was intended for, but because there are some people who have been a part of our lives (for as long as we can remember), whether we knew them personally or not, we feel compelled to take a moment and thank them for their contribution.

From Willy Wonka to Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein to Silver Streak, The Producers to Haunted Honeymoon and so many more, he always stole the show and we were lucky to have him.  His is an enduring legacy, and I know my generation is grateful.  RIP.

xx, Rach

Quote Monday

In light of my last post, I’m having to give myself daily pep talks in order to keep moving forward.  It’s a struggle all creatives must endure, and if you’re like me at the moment, know that you aren’t alone.

GentleReminder

We can do this!  We can overcome our fears and achieve what we want in life, we just have to be brave!

Wishing you all the very best!